Top Ten Saddest Musician Deaths of the 20th Century


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21Randy California

The founder and lead guitarist of the band "Spirit", he died a hero saving his 13-year old son from dangerous Hawaiian surf. He also "may", or "may not", have written the first part of "Stairway to Heaven".

22Selena QuintanillaSelena Quintanilla-PĂ©rez was an American singer, songwriter, spokesperson, actress, and fashion designer.

So sad she was murder by Yolanda. And she wanted to have kids.

23Jeff BuckleyJeffrey Scott "Jeff" Buckley, raised as Scott "Scottie" Moorhead, was an American singer-songwriter and guitarist.

On evening of May 29th 1997, Jeff Buckley went swimming in a channel of the Mississippi River, while wearing boots and all of his clothing and singing the chorus of the song "Whole Lotta Love" by Led Zeppelin. Witnesses lost sight of him one short moment, and he had disappeared. Autopsy showed no signs of drugs or alcohol in his system, and the death was ruled as an accidental drowning.
Elizabeth Fraser who was his friend, wrote lyrics to the Massive Attack song "Teardrop" (and sang it) thinking of Buckley's death - Lotuscandy

24Marvin GayeMarvin Gaye was an American singer, songwriter, and musician, and is regarded as one of the greatest singers of all time .V1 Comment
25Ian CurtisIan Kevin Curtis was an English musician and singer-songwriter. He is best known as the lead singer and lyricist of the post-punk band Joy Division.

He suffered from severe epilepsy and depression. He experienced epileptic seizures even on stage, there were several incidents when he collapsed whilst performing and had to be carried offstage. The day before the band's departure for their first US tour (May 18th 1980) he hang himself in the kitchen of his house, at the age of 23. Later, the remaining members of the group formed New Order.
There's an excellent movie based on his life, it's "Control" by Anton Corbijn - Lotuscandy

26Ricky Wilson (The B-52s)
27AaliyahAaliyah Dana Haughton was born on January 16th 1979 and died August 25th 2001. She was a dancer, an actress and an R&B singer. She was born in Brooklyn, New York, raised in Detroit, Michigan and died at Marsh Harbour, Bahamas. more.V1 Comment
28Keith Relf

He was the lead singer of the Yardbirds, and later died the ultimate rocker's death, electrocuted himself while rehearsing in the bathtub with a plugged in electric guitar.

29Mia Zapata

Such a talent, taken for no reason at all.

30Adam YauchV1 Comment
31Layne StaleyLayne Thomas Staley was an American musician who served as the lead singer and co-songwriter of the rock band Alice in Chains, which he founded with guitarist Jerry Cantrell in Seattle, Washington in 1987. Alice in Chains rose to international fame as part of the grunge movement of the early 1990s. more.

Honestly I liked Alice in Chains more then Nirvana, and I find his death to be more tragic then Kobain. - BoredJeff02

V1 Comment
32Otis ReddingOtis Ray Redding, Jr. was an American singer, songwriter, record producer, arranger, and talent scout.
33Cass ElliotV1 Comment
34Tim Buckley
35Cozy PowellColin Trevor "Cozy" Powell was an English rock drummer, who made his name with many major rock bands and artists like The Jeff Beck Group, Rainbow, Robert Plant, Whitesnake and Black Sabbath.

It's tragic he died in an automobile accident. He was a very powerful drummer, amazing when he was with Rainbow. He'll be missed R.I.P.

36Criss OlivaChristopher "Criss" Michael Oliva was an American musician who was the lead guitarist and co-founder of the band Savatage.
37Sid ViciousJohn Beverly, born John Simon Ritchie, later named Sid Vicious, was an English musician, most famous as the bass guitarist of the influential punk rock band the Sex Pistols, and notorious for his arrest for the alleged murder of his girlfriend, Nancy Spungen.
38Brian JonesLewis Brian Hopkin Jones was an English musician, the founder and the original leader of the Rolling Stones.
39Janis JoplinJanis Joplin (1943-1970) was an American singer who rose to fame as the main singer of acid band Big Brother and the Holding Company. She was known for her eccentric hippie style and psychedelic rock music.

She died just sixteen days after Jimi Hendrix, and like him at the age of 27, making them number 2 and 3 (after Brian Jones) in which will become the infamous "27 club" (it refers to the belief that an unusual number of popular musicians have died at age 27), like Jim Morrisson 1 year later, but it wasn't until the death of Kurt Cobain, about two and a half decades later, that the idea of a "27 Club" began to catch on in public perception. Amy Winehouse, Kristen Pfaff (from Hole), Mia Zapata and many others are sadly also members of this "club" - Lotuscandy

40Keith Moon
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List StatsUpdated 2 Dec 2016

100 votes
49 listings
132 days old

Top Remixes (5)

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2. Harry Chapin
3. Buddy Holly
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2. Elvis Presley
3. Kurt Cobain
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2. Freddie Mercury
3. John Bonham

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